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Feeling Much Better

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers
Mike Knuble eyes the puck after his goal in New Jersey on Friday night in a 6-3 Flyers win. (Getty Images)


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Stevens - Oct. 27
 Carter/Lupul/Gagne - Oct. 27

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(Philadelphia, PA) - Just when it looked like it couldn't get any worse, things are suddenly looking much, much better for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Having gone winless in their first six games, the Flyers found out early on Friday that they would be without skilled center Danny Briere for up to a month with a torn abdominal muscle. The team was in the midst of preparing for a game in New Jersey on the heels of that news, which was a place where the Flyers were winless in their last 12 games overall.

As the cliche goes, though, that's why they play the games. A 6-3 win that night followed by a 3-2 overtime decision over the same Atlantic Division rival Devils on Saturday provided a much needed sense of relief for the club, which has suddenly gained points in the standings in four straight games (2-0-2).

"It takes a little weight off our shoulders," said Jeff Carter, who has a team-leading six goals including the overtime winner on Saturday. "We weren't happy with the way things had been going. We felt like we were getting a little bit better every game, and those last two games we started to come around and play the game that we have to these days to win games.

"It's definitely a big boost for us."

Joffrey Lupul also thinks the locker room is a happier place now that there are a couple of notches in the win column.

"It's a much different feeling in the room right now than it was before the weekend," he said. "Guys are a little more loose and you can see a little bit more confidence. It's a more fun place to be right now.  You look at like now we've got two in a row and get it rolling and back to where we think we should be."

The Flyers felt they have been getting better each game, but the results were just not there in the first six games. In two games against San Jose, one of the Western Conference powerhouses, Philadelphia managed to get a point in the standings but fell in overtime and a shootout, respectively.

A win was desperately needed in order to loosen up and gain confidence, even though the team was not necessarily playing poorly.

"Our team was doing alot of good things, but until you have success, the confidence never builds," said John Stevens. "We won that game in Jersey and guys seemed to relax a little bit. You want to work hard and do good things but you need success to really build confidence in your team."

"Getting the first two wins, you could tell practice was a little bit looser today and guys are more comfortable and laughing a little bit more," added Simon Gagne. "It is a good feeling for us to beat Jersey twice."

Philadelphia will go for its third straight win in Atlanta (2-4-2) on Tuesday night (7:00 p.m., Versus).

"They are a teamwith a lot of skill offensively," said Gagne. "They are the type of team that wants to win a game 6-5 if they have to. They look to score alot of goals so we're going to have to be ready to play well defensively against them."

FLYERS NOTES
Stevens has not yet announced a goaltender for Tuesday night. Antero Niittymaki is 9-0 lifetime against the Thrashers, however. ... The team flew down to Atlanta on Monday for the annual father-son trip, in which several players brought their dads. ... Jared Ross was reassigned to the Phantoms earlier Monday. ... The Flyers practiced at the Wachovia Spectrum on Monday, and afterwards had a photo shoot for the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival program in which they posed at various landmarks in and around the building.
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